The beaches north of the Waitakere River have been very little used by Xena or Hercules. The land above the cliff tops, with its views over the ocean, has been used, but it's all private.
From Waitakere Bay at the north end of Bethells Beach, a slight climb over a sandy rise at the neck of neck of the penisula of Erangi Point leads to O'Neill Bay.
Further to the north, the coast is rocky, and such small beaches as there are are inaccessible except by boat. A public walkway runs along the cliffs, from O'Neill Bay to Bartrum Bay, closed north of Jonkers Rock from August 1st to October 1st for lambing. There's not much can be seen of Xena interest north of that point anyway, since the clifftop land is way above the public path. However, it makes an interesting but strenuous walk with some great scenery. If walking from one end to the other (and if you can arrange transport) then it's best heading south. Heading north, the big climb out of O'Neill and the big climb up to Constable Road right at the end are killers for anyone as unfit as the staff of this site. Heading south, it's delightful to drop down to O'Neill and walk along the sea's edge to reach Bethells.
So far as we can tell, RenPics never used O'Neill Bay beach itself. We earlier
credited (wrongly) the opening shot of The Apple where Hercules was lying on
the sand watching Iolaus surfing, with O'Neill Bay cliffs behind - but further examination
of that scene shows it was on Bethells Beach with the O'Neill cliffs in long shot, beyond the
low ridge joining Erangi Point to the mainland.
The clifftops around O'Neill Bay were rather more used. Directly east of Tangihau Point, is the clifftop Xena runs along in the title sequence (and also in Gabrielle's Hope). The cliff slope down to the beach is, so far as we know, public land, but all the flat land above the cliffs is, as we said, private. Please don't climb over the fences and trespass. (Renpics cheated. They went up the easy way, up a farm track. But then, they were allowed.)
|A shot from Gabrielle's Hope||Looking over Erangi Point from the clifftop|
Climbing up the walkway from O'Neill Bay to the clifftop above Tangihau
Point gives excellent views over Bethells Beach and right down the coast
to the south. On the clifftop directly north of Tangihau Point is where
the gods Athena, Hades and Hephaestus stood after they blitzed Xena's wagon
in Looking Death in the Eye. They were in fact looking south, completely
the wrong direction, until someone turned them round in post-production, but
then they never were very bright.
Athena's archers also bit the dust at about this point, and Antigone
used this spot to launch a wagon off the cliff in Rebel With a Cause.
|Lying down on the job again?||So would you if you'd just run up this lot!||The view from Antigone's wagon just before it flew|
A little further west, just before the path starts descending towards
Raetahinga Point, you can see along the coast to the north. Part of the
outline may be familiar to you, the hump of land above Tirikohua Point
and Oaia Island offshore were seen in the background from the Gablaunch
site in Bitter Suite (but we'll come to that in a minute). Rather nearer,
directly above Jonkers Rock on the map, is where Xena, not to be outdone
by anyone on the Other Show, launched her own wagon over the cliff in Looking
Death in the Eye.
|Xena hasn't quite mastered the art
of crosswind takeoffs yet
|Looking north along the coast, with the headland
above Tirikohua Point in the middle of the picture
Beyond this point, if you want to walk it (and as we said, it's best
done from the other end), the path follows, more or less, the 100-metre
contour along the cliffs for several miles. The coastline is rugged, the
scenery is bleak (or spectacular, take your choice) and there's no shelter
or short-cut out if you run out of energy. Be warned.
|Looking south over Kirikiri Bay
Raetahinga Point in the distance
|Looking north from Tirikohua Point||A strange piece of coastline just north
of Tirikohua Point
Raetahinga Point, seen in silhouette from the north, is the spot where Xena jumped off the cliff to hide her wedding certificate in Soul Possession.
After much intensive study of maps, we think the famous Gablaunch site
is on the clifftop, above Kirikiri Bay, approximately where it says '194'
on the map. This spot has been used also for the funeral pyre in the Herc
episode Rebel With a Cause, and in a recent NZ car ad where a 'pied piper'
Japanese car zips aside to send a stream of others plunging over the cliff.
The farm which occupies most of the land above the cliffs seems to be rented
out regularly for film making.
|The view from the Gablaunch site. Note Oaia Island below in the distance||Looking down over the 'waterfall'||Where 'Xena' goes, 'Herc', as always, is not far behind|
|These views are taken from the walking track halfway up the cliff...||... which is as near as you can get...||... to the Gablaunch site above|
However, if Xena really had thrown Gabrielle off the cliff at this point,
she would have landed a few feet further down on a very steep slope covered
in toetoe (sawgrass). (See picture at right above). In fact it's our contention
that Gabrielle's battered appearance was not in fact makeup, but was in
fact Take Two after Renee slipped on the first take and was retrieved from
the bottom of the slope.
Two miles further to the north, at Maori Bay, was where Xena's wagon
landed after it fell off the cliff in Looking Death in the Eye. It certainly flew
a long way. The ubiquitous Oaia Island can be seen behind Xena and shows
the location. This bay is reached via Muriwai, and is a popular surf beach
overlooked by a number of houses. The black sand here is particularly black.
|Oaia Island is prominent in the background
of this scene from
Looking Death in the Eye
|.. and the real thing,
temporarily free from surfers
|Seen from the road above
Gannet colony, top centre
Not far from here is Woodhill Forest, where many scenes were shot - see the
Woodhill page for details.
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